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Major Pain…

August 24, 2018


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Major James “Jimmy” Stewart. Photo from yahoo


Hey Y’all,


Not a lot of time tonight but I remembered that two weeks ago I promised to do a better job of writing. You all know what you can do with my promises, but here you go. I am really motivated to complete a series that I started on Sept 11, 2012. It has taken me longer to document the stories from 2003-2006 that it did to live them and relive them and relive them. Anyway, there is one final rotation left to document and we can put that chapter to bed.


For all the new folks who have shown up since, 2012 I am writing these stories down as I remember them so that one day my kids can know why their old man acts the way that he does. It hasn’t really been fun to remember all these stories but there is a cathartic release that comes from opening my mind and releasing the demons.


Pappy Boyington.jpg

Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. photo from yahoo


When I left the military in 2007, I was a Major. Most people get promoted to Major because they are highly deserving of the promotion. Believe it or not, I am not like most people. Following the last set of stories, I had returned home and was trying very hard to put the wheels back on my marriage. It was tough but we were making progress. I was still alive.


Donetta and I talked about the next rotation and neither of us wanted me to leave again. Anyone who thinks the constant rotational cycle of a deployment is easy is someone who isn’t mentally all there. No one liked it but we had one more until we were done. However, I was technically not activated at the time and my commitment was up to the military so I could leave anytime. Donetta and I talked about it and decided that we would press to test the button to see if I could get out of the military. The next morning, I marched myself into my boss’s office and laid a piece of paper on his desk. It said that it was my intention to put my papers in for separation from the military. Lieutenant Colonel Tony B, looked at me and asked if I was serious. I told him that I was.


Tony is a great man and a wonderful boss. He was on leave from Delta Airlines and dealing with his own issues in his life. He knew what I was going through and we talked very briefly about my motivations and he got it. He signed the paper and gave it back to me. Honestly, I was shocked that it went that far and that told me that when I turned it into the personnel group that he was going to activate me for the remaining ten months of my time and send me over on the next rotation and leave me over there until my time was up. When I got back, then I could get out.


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Chuck Norris was Maj Scott McCoy in Delta Force. photo from yahoo


I just nodded because I knew that he could do exactly what he threatened. But to my surprise, he asked if I had completed my course work to be promoted. Squadron Officer School was more commonly known as SOS and was one of the metrics that the Air Force used to determine when someone could be promoted. The other was straight time in grade. If the normal Captain was promoted at the six-year mark and the minimum time to be promoted was four years, I was hardly into the fifth year of service as a Captain. To promote me was not outrageous but something totally not necessary. My SOS was complete and I was eligible for promotion. Tony told me that if I tore up the paper and went on my rotation as scheduled, then he would hold a promotion board for me the next day and I could go over as a Major with a pay raise.


My choices were to get promoted and do what I was already scheduled to do or to go over immediately for ten months. Tony was under no obligation to do a promotion board for me and really no obligation to do anything other than kick me out of his office. But I couldn’t just walk out of the office that easily. I told him that “I wasn’t going to wear my Blues” which meant that I wasn’t going to wear my official uniform.


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Damon Williams played Major Payne and his uniform was always perfect. photo from yahoo.


Park of that was being ornery but the other part was that I didn’t have a uniform ready to wear to a promotion board. The last time I had worn it, I was a Lieutenant so it had the wrong rank, it was not updated with the correct medals and ribbons and to be honest, I wasn’t even sure where it was. I was all a mess but I couldn’t just admit that. I had to pop off to someone who was trying to do me a favor.


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Of all the characters, I am closest to Major Frank Burns. photo from yahoo


I went home and told Donetta what Tony said. She was disappointed but there were lots of things that disappointed her during that time so it was just another day.


Tony just laughed because he understood. He gave me permission to wear my flight suit to the unscheduled promotion board. The next day, I sat in a room with Tony and two other guys and we talked for a little bit. They asked me questions about how they could make things better, they asked about what was wrong with the Squadron and what I would change if I was in charge. It was a pleasurable conversation and one that we had informally had sitting at the wagon wheel in Qatar or flying from one place to another.


I walked out of the promotion board an undeserving Major select and went about getting my stuff together to go back over there.


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Me and Tony and the boys. Im on the left. Photo from yahoo


Until next time, keep on rockin.



  1. Donetta permalink

    Sad times but we made it!

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